Adapting to change is the key in Gladstone
ADAPTING to change was a consistent theme of the 11th Gladstone Engineering Alliance Major Industry Conference.
MIPEC's Steve Beale has been around Gladstone long enough to see many of the peaks and troughs.
He said there were positives and negatives in the legacies that all construction had left in Gladstone.
"Gladstone itself has been uniquely fortunate that several specific local attributes have attracted and continued to attract new business to the region," he said.
"One of these is our harbour and the foresight to develop that natural harbour."
He said the area had a strong inherent, yet often unrecognised, attitude to recognise opportunities.
Mr Beale said 15 years ago he was looking at venture capital investments and Gladstone was one of the top two areas that investors should consider.
"This entrepreneurial attitude is probably even more mature today than 15 years ago," he said.
The timeline of industry development was the obvious trough that followed the boom of construction, he said.
"For some these can be welcome as a period of consolidation, although their extended duration can by worrying and difficult for many local and regional businesses," he said.
Construction periods had provided more opportunities and more maintenance roles after the construction phase.
"One of the other legacies is the contributions to the community," he said.
But the increased pressure on social infrastructure had been one of the harder impacts of construction.
"It's unfortunate that whilst we want all these major projects, that the revenue to support the infrastructure usually lags beyond the mark," he said.
"As construction comes, we often lose staff ... as construction goes, the true local workforce often wants to come back to us.
"Many of these unfortunately are no longer suitable after they gain their construction experience."